TENNIS: Northants youngsters impress again

Northants mini reds (back row left to right): Elias Kral, Ilian Angelov, Joshua Roberts, Harvey Fairholm, Blake Ransford, Charlie Coleman; (front row): Annabelle Darbyshire, Lucy Barr, Tegan Bush, Matilda Hinde, Hattie Kendrick, Summer-Mae Cockerill

Northants mini reds (back row left to right): Elias Kral, Ilian Angelov, Joshua Roberts, Harvey Fairholm, Blake Ransford, Charlie Coleman; (front row): Annabelle Darbyshire, Lucy Barr, Tegan Bush, Matilda Hinde, Hattie Kendrick, Summer-Mae Cockerill

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Northants’ ever improving band of mini red players put up a bold showing at the Inter County Mini Red tournament at Batchwood Tennis Centre on Sunday.

Ten counties took part in the event for juniors aged eight and under, with the County’s youngsters equipping themselves well in the six player format, the girls taking a best-ever fifth spot and the boys sixth overall.

Tegan Bush, who is coached at King’s Park, proved the star turn in the girls line-up as she played at number one despite having another year in this age category, and earned most wins into the bargain.

For the boys, Ilian Angelov (Dallington) went through the day unbeaten playing at number two in the rankings. The squads were coached by Tom Stevenson and Laura Mineards respectively.

While the girls were fourth of five in their initial group, then defeating Buckinghamshire and Berkshire, the boys enjoyed a stand-out 4-2 victory against Essex, who won both categories. Having drawn two matches 3-3 and finishing third in their section they scored a success against Norfolk by one point but then lost to Suffolk which decided their final placing.

Mineards said: “If the girls had started the day the way they finished it they would have been close to winning the competition. It all augurs very well for next year as Summer-Mae and Lucy will also still be available.”

Meanwhile, the summer-long mini Grand Slam series of competitions for county juniors began with the Australian Open staged at King’s Park.

The remaining ‘Slams’ will be held at the Corby Tennis centre (French) on May 8, County LTC (US) on May 22 and Dallington (Wimbledon) on July 3. Finals day is at Duston United on July 10.

THRUST headlong into a run of top quality US matches in the university Ivy League, Northants’ Jack Haworth has been forced to produce the best tennis of his life and is revelling in the experience.

Haworth’s father Craig, the manager of the Corby Tennis Centre manager, believes the highly-charged atmosphere which sees players and supporters cheering and heckling in equal measure, has helped to bring out the best of the Brown University competitor, having witnessed it at first hand last week.

Haworth snr said: “Jack is really starting to find his way and played at number two in the doubles against Cornell with his partner Charles Tan. They won their doubles to secure the doubles point but only one of the Brown University players could win their singles so it was lost 4-2.”

Haworth’s own singles at number three saw him narrowly miss out 6-7, 3-6 against Stefan Vinti.

Reigning Ivy League champions Columbia University provided opposition the following day and promoted to number one doubles, Haworth/Tan found Mike Vermeer/Michael Rolski too tough and lost 6-4. Yet a singles match against Eric Rubin, undefeated in singles matches this school year, saw Haworth secure a remarkable 6-3, 6-4, breaking in the first set at 4-3 before recovering from a break down in the second set.

Haworth junior can expect to play a part in Brown University’s final three Ivy League matches of the season against Harvard, Yale and Dartmouth, before returning to this country in mid-May.

COUNTY junior Elita Silins enjoyed a decent batch of results over the Easter holidays, winning an 18 & U Grade 4 singles event at Boston along with 14 & U Grade 3 doubles events at Cambridge and Sutton Coldfield with different partners.

She also reached semi-finals in both 14 & U and 16 & U Grade 3 singles competitions at Chesterfield. Her other Grade 3 results brought quarter-finals enabling her to achieve higher than her seeding in each competition. Mixed into the plot for the Walgrave junior were three wins towards her mid-season goal of a 5.2 rating, with no losses.